General Concepts of Basic Life Support

The American Heart Association (AHA) has updated the Basic Life Support (BLS) course over the years as new research in cardiac care has become available. Cardiac arrest continues to be a leading cause of death in the United States. Life Support guidelines have changed dramatically, and the elements of BLS continue to be some of the most important steps in initial treatment. Basic Life Support includes:


Early initiation of BLS has been shown to increase the probability of survival for a victim of cardiac arrest. To increase the odds of surviving a cardiac event, the rescuer should follow the steps in the Adult Chain of Survival.

adult chain of survival
Figure 1: Adult Chain of Survival

Infants and children do not usually have primary cardiac events. Pediatric patients will most often suffer from respiratory events or dehydration that lead to cardiac arrest. The most important part of the Pediatric Chain of Survival is the first link – Prevention.

pediatric chain of survival
Figure 1: Pediatric Chain of Survival